Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
It's a fictitious little town that's been formulating in his mind for the past two decades, but as of October, David Emprimo's Newtonberg now can be visited by book lovers via electronic or bound copy.
“Welcome to Newtonberg” is a collection of short stories about the town featuring history, lore and a handful of memorable characters, he said.
“I've been writing on and off for about 20 years, and it seems like whenever I wrote a short story, it would get set in this little town. The first time it showed up, it was in a story that I wrote in high school,” he recalled.
However, he felt it was overly melodramatic, so Emprimo set his writing aside briefly.
“The only good thing that came out of it was this little town, and (the next story) came off just the way I wanted it to, and suddenly I had this little town with a whole community of characters,” he said.
Laughing, he added that he's been asked if any of the characters are based on living people.
“There are certain quirks and traits, but no, none of them are based on real people,” he said.
In his blog (http://newtonberg.wordpress.com), Emprimo admits to disliking the idea of drawing attention to himself, so he didn't give publication much thought until this past summer, when Jacksonville Public Library Director Barbara Crossman handed him an article about publishing e-books, or literature purchased through electronic means.
“I didn't realize that (electronic publishing) didn't cost anything – I would have assumed that (an author) would have to pay someone to distribute it, but the article directed me to Smash-Words,” a electronic book publisher who, for a nominal fee, would make his book available to readers, he said.
“Once I read the article I realized, 'Hey, this is something I can do,' and I decided to go for it,” he said. “Originally I was going to try to do one story a month, and take readers through the town over a year's time. But when I read them, I realized I had about five.”
He quickly penned a sixth story, which he finished Sept. 20, and submitted the book to SmashWords.com with the intent of releasing a new tale every other month starting in October.
Emprimo's work is available for most major eBook readers from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and iTunes. It is also available in print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and is also available for order through most booksellers.
“Welcome to Newton-berg” also is available on-demand as a print copy through Amazon and Barnes & Noble bookstores, and for order through most booksellers, according to a press release.
He also donated a copy to the public library, where he is head of technical services. The copy will be in circulation within the next several weeks, he said.
“You can get your book published without it costing an arm and a leg,” he said, adding that he's invested about $35 in the process.
It's still in early stages of distribution, but Emprimo is encouraged by what he's experienced so far.
“A lot of people are downloading a sample of the book,” he said.
As someone who works with books in print, Emprimo admits that “my heart sinks a little bit when I hear the words 'self-published.'”
But, with the advent of electronic media and delivery system, “it means there's more opportunity for people to get their message out there,” he said.
“It's astounding to think that my book could be read all over the world, but it's great because more people will be able to visit Newtonberg and (grow) to love the characters.”
Calling the experience “an interesting one,” Emprimo hopes to encourage budding authors to consider non-traditional publishing routes.
“Never give up,” he advised.
“It's been 20 years for me to get this little selection of stories (published), but I wouldn't trade a minute of it.”